Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just what is integrated mission?

Today was another of our 'Salvos in the 'ville' lunches!  Thirteen different people from five different 'branches' of the Salvos gathered for lunch in the dining room of our local pub ;).  People came from Employment Plus, EastCare, Bushfire Recovery, Care 'n' Wear Shop, and the Corps.  And there were a few apologies too - so we really are gathering a crowd out here!

With so much talk of 'integrated mission', and recently Healesville was noted as an 'integrated' site, I have to ask, just what is integrated mission?  How does it look?

Now, I don't have the answers for this at all.  In fact, I'd argue that we don't really have an integrated site here in Healesville - rather we have several different programs that run independently without any real strategic thoughts of how we can support each other or 'integrate'.  There's limited talk of working together, each offering our own strengths.  There was an opportunity, but that didn't eventuate, and it's a whole different story!

Integration (as defined by trusty is 'an act or instance of combining into an integral whole'.

Today was a time for all of us to gather as 'one'.  We all get phonecalls for each other's sites (don't even start me on why we can't get phone systems that allow us to connect calls easily!).  As far as the public are concerned, we all work for the one organisation!  Sometimes we are way too quick to distinguish our 'separatness', rather than our unity. 

Co-location isn't integration either, its just a smart way to use resources.

Can you imagine a day where no matter where our desk was located, we saw each other as all being colleagues, where we supported each other as one team - having a greater understanding of what each other actually does!  Imagine an unemployed person recording some music one afternoon, then helping serve a community lunch the next week, and provided a suit from the shop for a job interview! 

What would it be like if we pooled our intellectual property?  Working in such different fields gives the whole team quite a wide breadth of understanding of the local community.

Is integration about talking to each other more?  Meeting formally together to achieve a common goal?

Is integration about focusing on an individual (or group of individuals) and working together to support the whole person - not just one component of their life?

Just thinking aloud here really.

So what was the end result of today?  Well, we had a nice lunch together, some of the new staff got to meet others who work in the same town.  In fact - some staff got to talk to fellow Salvo workers who share the same building but have never spoken to each other!  Was it integration - well, no, it was lunch!  But it did foster relationships, and from these relationships we are continuing dialogue about working together on a few projects.  I guess we are on the pathway to integration...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"The frontiers of the Kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution." (J Oswald Sanders, p. 128, Spiritual Leadership)
Love it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two and a half years in...almost!

Two and a half years ago seems like only yesterday. It been (almost) that long since I started here at Healesville Salvos. This week has been ‘manic’, as soon as I finish one phone call, the phone rings again! It’s an exciting place to be!

This morning we fed over 90 students and staff breakfast at Healesville High School. It’s been two years since we started this project at the school.

While breakfast was occurring this morning, another agency was using our halls to run a ‘girls with attitude’ group. This afternoon the Youth & Music Project has live thrash metal playing the main hall, and the small meeting room is being used for hip hop on the Mac! I can hear the drums and guitars as I write this!

Tomorrow it’s mainly music time. We’ve been privileged to be able to employ a worker to help coordinate our early childhood ministries. We now connect with families whose only contact with the church is through us. I chuckle, because instead of the hall only being used for church on Sunday’s, we have to ‘negotiate’ between ours and external groups! I guess it’s a good problem to have.

I’m sitting in the house next door, which is now our office. We have four offices now, all at least twice as large as the old office in the hall. We have another agency co-locating with us, and the opportunities for partnerships are stronger than ever.

We’ve had different primary school groups come up to do community service for us – after we provide them with lunch of course! On Friday I’m sharing at the high school with a year ten class. Later in the term the year nine’s will visit the Salvos at 69 Bourke Street, another new initiative that commenced two years ago. Last year I got to travel around (and around, and around) Tasmania with year ten’s.

On Saturday will be our sixth or seventh women’s breakfast (I’ve lost count!). We’ve run four children’s school holiday programs. I remember setting a goal to meet 113 people in the community, and to have 113 people ‘connected’ to Healesville Salvos. Remember, it was 113 because the sign on the wall says ‘max number of people 112’ – I wanted to do better! Well, there would be more than 113 people ‘connected’ to us in some way, either through mainly music, school holiday programs, high school activities, women’s breakfasts, shop volunteers...the list goes on!

Not everything has worked. Fresh Friday Munch has been in ‘recess’ for over fifteen months now. The UFO craft morning crashed into a planet out there somewhere I think!

The last two and a half years have been an amazing journey. Naturally the events of February 2009 have shaped the community and the Corps in a way that will never be forgotten. The last twelve months have seen some of the biggest changes here, with the purchase of the property next to our hall. I’ll be the first to say things haven’t always gone smoothly! However, I am reminded today to stop and reflect, giving thanks to God for what He has done, and what He is yet to do!

God isn’t finished with Healesville yet! In the coming months there are further school holiday programs, formal recognition of the Wurundjeri at our facilities (the flags in our hall were a first step) and cultural awareness training for all our volunteers, the Youth & Music Project hope to have a youth space operating weekly (our pool table and table tennis table have been earmarked for use again!), a sole-parent families camp in partnership with other agencies and churches, a children’s clothing parade, Christmas Day Community Lunch (anyone want to volunteer?), and many more ideas running through my and the team’s heads.

In everything, may God be glorified – may we be a community of faith, hope and love, living for God’s Kingdom here on earth – in HEALESVILLE!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Primary school gets back to nature

Chum Creek Primary School is now expanding garden beds and constructing a memorial to friends and family lost in the February fires, thanks to the generosity of fellow Victorian school students and community groups.

Students from 20 schools located across suburban Melbourne participated in the 2009 Canstruction Melbourne event. Although the event’s focus was on science and maths education, part of the day also included a component to raise money for bushfire-affected families and communities. Students selected the Chum Creek Primary School community garden project as the recipient of a $6000 grant.
The gathering, facilitated with the assistance of Planet Give and The Salvation Army, gave students a voice to decide where they thought the money raised would be of most benefit. When students decided on a garden in a bushfire-affected area, where people could relax with nature and friends, was the best use of funds, Salvation Army Envoy Graeme Mawson, based at Healesville, knew just the school to put forward.
The Salvation Army’s Bushfire Relief Fund and Planet Give’s online community of donors also contributed to the final donation.
Michael Corr, Chum Creek Primary School principal, and students received the donation on behalf of the school, saying it would be of great assistance for the school’s vegie gardens. An automatic watering system, to help sustain the garden over school holidays, is at the top of the list for the grant money. A community memorial garden for friends and family members who perished will also be constructed at the school.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Healesville circa 1930

Check out this photo of Healesville from around 1930.  You can see the Salvos' hall on the far right hand side, half-way down.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kidzone school holiday program

During the second week of the school holidays, twenty-four children participated in Healesville's Kidzone School Holiday Program. Over the three mornings the children explored how to be a good neighbour, learning from Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan. Some of the activities included painting tiles portraying the story of the Good Samaritan, which will become a permanent fixture of the Healesville Labyrinth to be constructed next year. On the final day the children learnt how to throw a boomerang, throw a spear using a woomera, and enjoyed listening to one of the locals play a didgeridoo!

The leaders came from Ringwood Youth Ministries, and the afternoons were spent in leadership development activities, including personality profiling with Captain David Collinson, and some great ice chocolates!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The likes and challenges of living in the Yarra Valley

Today I listened to a group of young people share about their likes of living in the Yarra Valley, and the challenges of living in the Yarra Valley. I thought I'd share them here for you, to help others get a picture of real life here.

  • Peaceful
  • Not overcrowded - room to move around
  • Privacy
  • Less traffic
  • Nice views
  • Get to know everyone (which can be a challenge too!)
  • Less busy
  • Offensive graffiti (example of graffiti on livestock bridge over Warburton Highway that reads "scum lives here")
  • Limited public transport - hourly services: if you miss a bus you have to wait for 1 hour
  • Cost of public transport - paying the extra country fare
  • Lack of jobs (having to travel to Chirnside for work isn't great - especially if you miss the bus!)
  • Lack of entertainment.  There is little to do, so young people turn to drugs.  The local cinemas aren't great, and the movies are shown at least one month after their main release
  • No clothing shops
  • No local petrol stations
I am sure these are just the tip of the iceberg.  Life here is great, and challenging all at the same time.